Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Defending (explaining?) Artscroll

At Cross Currents R. Yitzchok Adlerstein takes on the widespread criticism of Artscroll. Essentially, he writes, Artscroll is not to blame for its shortcomings. Rather, a part of the community it serves possesses these shortcomings and if Artscroll didn't cater to them then there wouldn't be an audience for Artscroll.

R. Adlerstein posits that most of its perceived audience, centrist and right-of-center people would be satisfied with a more open, honest and balanced editiorial policy from Artscroll. But:
The situation on the right is more complex. If Artscroll showed more balance, my most haredim would hardly care or voice any objection. The zealots, however, would wreak havoc. They have for hundreds of years, and their influence has hardly waned as of late. Zealots don’t just rant, rave and fulminate. They are persistent. They will call you at all times, accost you in all places. They will start whispering campaigns behind your back, malign you to your rabbeim, friends, colleagues and employers. They make life miserable for great Torah luminaries; they do the same to us commoners. Like terrorists, they don’t negotiate. Many people don’t give in to them, but virtually everyone gets worn down by them.

The owners and editors of Artscroll are bright and knowledgeable. They have been around the block a few times, even if it is a single block in Flatbush. They know that quoting Rav Kook or Rav Soloveichik will without any doubt bring the taint of heresy and calls for boycott.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails